ANOTHER Cardiff Labour councillor has stood down only 24 hours after his colleague resigned due to “bullying and racial discrimination”.
While Labour members were learning why Llandaff North councillor Sue White resigned yesterday they discovered that her former colleague Manzoor Ahmed, who represents Adamsdown, was also quitting amid claims he was not being re-selected and that the Labour group in Cardiff is “rudderless”.
The Cardiffian revealed yesterday that Ms White was the third female Labour councillor to step down this year amid claims of sexism within the party.
Today Ms White revealed that her decision was taken because she feels there is a culture of bullying within the party and racial discrimination towards the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMA), who are seeking to build a mosque in Canton.
In a statement issued today Ms White said: “I have resigned from Cardiff Council because of bullying and what I perceive to be racial discrimination
“There is a culture of bullying in the Cardiff Council Labour Group which has been allowed to go unchecked for far too long. I myself have experienced it when I was the Group secretary and, most recently, when I defended the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association.”
The former councillor has previously shown her support for the community which has been praised by Prime Minister Theresa May and recently held a peace conference in Cardiff to bring different faiths together to combat extremism.
But Ms White claims that members of Cardiff Labour Group told her not to have any involvement with the AMA because they were “a dangerous organisation” and “were linked to ISIS”.
Mrs White said: “I first became concerned about prejudice towards the group when I was advised not to go to their events by a colleague after I had attended a Stop the CrISIS event in Cardiff.
“I am extremely concerned at what I see as prejudice against a group of whose work has been praised by world leaders, including our own Prime Minister, Theresa May.”
Dr Ata ur Rehman Maaz, President of The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Cardiff said he was “shocked” to learn that the organisation had been connected with extremism.
He said: “‘We are deeply disturbed by the contents of the resignation statement of Councillor Sue White and the appalling treatment she has faced simply for supporting our local community work.
“Nothing could be further from the truth and in fact just last week we held successful Peace Conference on the theme of United Against Extremism.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim sect is a small one in Islam. Due to political and religious differences, many Ahmadiyya Muslims suffer discrimination from other Muslims and are banned from entering mainstream mosques.
South Wales East assembly member, Mohammed Asghar recently called for a petition to approve plans to build a Ahmadiyya Muslim mosque in Canton.
However, Canton councillors Susan Elsmore, Richard Cook and Ramesh Patel co-signed a letter protesting against the proposal, claiming that it would cause traffic congestion. Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan has also written to oppose the mosque plan.
In a letter to the chair of the Planning Committee, Michael Michael, Ms White questioned the motives behind the rejection of the mosque plans.
She wrote: “I am extremely concerned at the wave of objections which have been lodged against the application.
“The Ahmadis have faced opposition from orthodox Muslims because they believe that Mohammed was the final Prophet.
“They are not welcome in mainstream mosques, that is why the 150 local followers need their own mosque in Cardiff.”
Rafiq Hayat, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK said: “‘No one should be discriminated against or targeted because of their faith or religious beliefs.
“We have been raising concerns about the issue of anti-Ahmadi propaganda and our concerns that this is an overspill of extremism from Pakistan to the UK.”
Ms White stated that she was the only Cardiff councillor present at a recent Ahmadiyya event and that there were “empty spaces bearing the names of councillors who had accepted invitations”.
Ms White ends her resignation statement by saying: “I have worked for the Labour Party all my adult life, my parents have been Labour activists for 70 years, and the behaviour I have witnessed while I have served as a councillor in Cardiff bears no resemblance to the fundamental Labour policies of inclusion, equality and respect.”
Cardiff Labour has been contacted for a comment.